Ok… something amazing happened this weekend. It all started on my way to the airport, early Friday morning. Many of Mrs. Beth’s events happen over the course of two days— a Friday evening, then usually ending with a Saturday morning session. This makes for some very early flights out of Nashville (where I live). Anyway, this Friday was pretty typical. The sun had not come up yet and I was already making my way to the Nashville International Airport. It’s about a 45-minute drive for me and I love to pray for my road family in preparation for the weekend. Another thing I have started doing is asking God for a word, even if it’s just one word—something from Him to me. The word that came to mind Friday morning was “prophecy.”
Prophecy, in scripture, is a spiritual gift.
It’s so interesting to me that I had been praying about these gifts of the Spirit recently—long before Friday. Scripture speaks to us in a number of places about the gifts, most notably in:
1 Corinthians 12-14
1 Peter 4
I won’t go through them all but Paul says in 1 Cor 14:1
“Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts…”
Paul doesn’t just say to seek them, he says to earnestly seek them. I understand the need to be cautious of seeking spiritual gifts above the Gift Giver(God), but I believe we can miss so much that the Gift Giver offers by not seeking His gifts. I believe that is more than fair to say, since Paul took the time to tell us to do just that and to do it earnestly.
As Mrs. Beth has so often said, “If God is giving it, I want it!”
That goes for any of God’s gifts. But prophecy is the word/gift that I landed on that Friday morning. Anyway, I finished praying and tucked my word (prophecy) away in the rush of the morning. The weekend ended up being amazing. I’m a bit partial to the group of folks I get to travel with. I’ve been with them for 12 years and we love each other pretty much like family. But as the weekend stretched on, I noticed something odd. I noticed that nothing at the event seemed to be going with my word. Mrs. Beth’s message had nothing to do with prophecy, and neither did our praise team lesson or prayer time. I was a little bummed out but it wasn’t the end of the world. I’m human, right? Maybe I was wrong, I thought. And that’s okay.
I’ve come to the conclusion, that I’d rather be wrong while listening for His voice than to never listen for Him at all.
As you can imagine, Friday passed by and the Saturday session was almost over and still nothing. Honestly, by this time, I had all but forgotten about it. Then, all of a sudden, as we were about to do the last few songs of the event, I noticed a woman in the audience. She had the sweetest Spirit about her while she worshipped. That is when God brought my Friday morning word back to my mind, as clear as could be, “prophecy.” My heart sank. I thought to myself, ‘Great… I don’t know what to say to her and I don’t want to tell her something that is wrong for her life. How do I know this is from You God?’ I said, ‘Please let me know it’s from You,’ and I left it there, just like that, and kept playing my bass and worshipping. Well, we finished the last few songs, and the event ended while we literally sang our way off the stage. When we reached back stage, the audience was still singing and we were too. It was beautiful. The Spirit of God was heavy and, out of the blue, that woman pops into my head again. Keep in mind, I didn’t know this woman from Adam, but for some reason, God kept putting her in my head over and over again, along with the word “prophecy.”
As crazy as this sounds, the people finish the chorus we were singing, the service ends and I find myself walking back across the stage, towards the front row, where that woman is still standing. On the way I grab my buddy D-Lo by the hand and ask him if he would help me and I keep walking toward her. This is a Living Proof Live event, a women’s event. Believe me, multiple scenarios are flashing through my head of just how wrong this could possibly go. My buddy D-Lo is from Australia. He says, “What are we doing mate?” David knows me well, and follows it up with, “Are you ok?” I grip his hand and mumble something about accountability and keep walking toward the woman. Suddenly, there we are—the moment of truth. Then it dawns on me that I’m standing in front of a strange woman, holding a grown man’s hand. She says, “Hi,” and introduces herself. D-Lo smiles and I shift my grip from D-Lo’s hand to his arm, subtly trying to salvage what’s left of my man card.
Y’all, fear was in a dead heat race with my faith and I don’t know which one was pounding the sides of my heart the hardest. I have to believe that the call of my God and the strong arm of a friend edged the enemy out by a hair and I opened my mouth.
I told her my name and said, “This might sound crazy-weird, but I feel that God wants me to tell you that you have a sweet spirit about you when you worship.” I told her that God can use that mightily. I told her that she needed to guard it and that God can take her great places for His Kingdom with it. I also told her that she was a studier and that she had a teacher inside of her. Then I said, “So do it!” I told her to study hard—to study her guts out and see where God will take her for His kingdom.
Well, it wasn’t pretty but I was done.
At this point I’m getting choked up, because she reminds me of my daughter. She’s older than my Gracie by a good ten years, but they both share that same sweet Spirit that is a gift—a meekness that is physically seen and that literally shines when they worship. I shake my head because I have no idea what this woman is about to say to me. So I ask… “Does any of that make sense or resonate with you?” She chuckles a broad smile and says to me,
“Yes…I’m the city coordinator for this event!”
To say that I was relieved would be a colossal understatement. She was kind and told me how much it meant to her. Shortly after, we parted ways. D-Lo actually grabbed me by the arm this time and said with an Aussie grin, “Mate! You didn’t know who she was?” I told him, I had no clue who that woman was. He said, “Maaate, that was awesome!” And we both started belly laughing right there on the other side of faithfulness.
God is so good! What terrified me before obedience thrills me on the other side of faithfulness!
What other journey is like this, y’all? Who else but God could transform a Friday morning drive to the airport into a one-word notion in my spirit, that becomes the journey to a confirming word of prophecy for another sister in Christ? I don’t know how you feel about such things. Heck… I don’t even know exactly how I feel about what happened. I don’t have an explanation for it. I just have God… and I want more! Like Mrs. Beth said, “If God is giving it, I want it!”
I want to hear all that He is saying to me. I want to know everything that I’ve been missing. And if it takes the arm of a friend to steady my wobbly legs of faith on the journey to hear Him, then so be it!
He is teaching me. He is all but daring me to believe that I can trust when He speaks to me and that listening for His voice is paramount. He is teaching me how to recognize that it’s Him—and that often a good clue to recognizing His hand is when my hands have nothing at all to do with the idea of doing it! In other words, I can trust a thing better when it isn’t on my radar to do it. I had completely forgotten about that lady until the end of the service. She was nowhere in my thoughts. Then bam! It’s like God dropped her out of nowhere into my head. He’s making me a listener.
The other part of this story that struck home was how personal God was toward me. You see, one of Mrs. Beth’s Spiritual gifts is prophecy. So I was, of course, watching her. My eyes were on my teacher, waiting, expecting the work to be done by her when God had sweetly ordained a specific word and work to be done by me. For whatever reason He chose to give me the panic attack of talking to a total stranger about their future work in His kingdom to encourage her and to open a gift inside of me. Makes me wonder how many divine panic moments God has blessed Mrs. Beth with over the years. In all seriousness though. I hadn’t thought about it until now, but I would never have dreamed that some of God’s sweetest gifts carry inside of them some of faith’s greatest challenges.
There is a gift in you, too. Maybe that is why you’re here at the Forge today reading this. Don’t be afraid and don’t be surprised if there’s a challenge built right into the thing. Ask God to bring it to light. Listen and watch for that moment of obedience. And when it comes…grab the strong arm of a friend if you have to, and I’ll see you on the other side of faithfulness!